We recently had a chat with Oliver Page, Lead Strategist from The Bakery, to learn more about what they do and to see how Cledara has helped them scale. The Bakery was one of our earliest customers and is one of our several Venture Builders that use Cledara to manage their SaaS subscriptions.
Let’s jump to the interview!
So Oliver, tell us about The Bakery.
We do a number of different activities, but all in all, it centres around helping global corporates to innovate more effectively. We have a number of different methodologies and programmes we use to help corporates to partner with and invest in startups, and to build brand new ventures.
For example our Partner Programmes involve layers of consulting, market scouting, matchmaking, and trial facilitation to get to the heart of business challenges and develop partnerships to address them. Complementary to this we often build new ventures with and within corporates through our “Startup-as-a-Service” programmes to take advantage of growth opportunities that they are often uniquely placed to pursue.
Are there any particular projects that you've worked on or companies that you've helped build that you're most excited about, that you'd like to mention?
Most I can't actually disclose publicly because they took them in-house and basically are continuing to build them out there, or they are too early to share, but let me think...
Our team in Brazil developed a new company, Bem Nosso, with a major construction and social housing provider in the country, Grupo Pizolato. This new venture helps unbanked individuals with limited credit history, often working cash-in-hand jobs, get access to financing to buy a property.
I'm sure it is a huge and important problem. It sounds super interesting.
Yes! And it's all about the financing and the vetting process for it, which is often a particular difficulty because Brazil is not a market like in the UK. We almost take for granted our banking infrastructure. But essentially, the company that our Brazil team is developing helps people to get their foot into some kind of property, because it’s not as easy as it is here.
So what’s it like to be a Lead Strategist? What do you do?
I wear quite a few different hats, as many in our team do. As far as client work though, in my time at The Bakery I've worked on many things. From helping autonomous shipping vessels navigate when their GPS fails, to finding a new ingredient to replace the bulk fillers in chocolate, to figuring out how to automate corporate tax filing systems.
And speaking of tax filing systems, what were some of the internal challenges you had as a business?
Well, we’ve had a number of challenges as a team that is growing quite quickly. When we were a very small business, everyone kind of got on with it. There wasn't a very rigid hierarchy or a very rigid structure to the business. When team members would need something, they would get the company card details and sign up for it. And we’d find out a few months later we're paying for a bunch of things we had no idea about.
The thing is that we didn't know what they were paying for. So there were a lot of challenges there. We had a particular one with a social platform. For context, we had a number of team members who signed up for individual premium accounts. And then as team members joined and left the business, we found that we had these lingering, unaccounted for licenses we were still paying for.
But the social platform would not tell us who these charges were associated with, nor could we block the charges. We even tried cancelling the cards to stop the charges, and then somehow the platform managed to transfer those subscriptions onto the replacement cards. There was literally nothing we could do to stop paying.
And this was one of the reasons why we wanted to have better visibility and control.
It's very common, particularly when companies share cards.. It's great when the technology automatically updates your card when it renews. But when something like this happens, you're trapped.
Right! The company cards were too freely and widely used without a clear view of what they were used for.
Right, because as soon as you give those card details out, they're not within your control anymore. So how did Cledara help you?
Really, it allowed us to reset a lot of our SaaS expenditure, re-evaluate what we were spending money on, and gradually load applications and new cards onto the platform. So it helped us to better keep track of what we're spending money on and who needed what in the first place.
Thanks to Cledara, there's a better accountability trail. So we can ask “What is this charge?”, then go back to the person and ask them “Is this necessary?”, and if it’s not, then cut it.
But it's that visibility and control that was the most useful element as time has gone on. It has been useful for helping to just give a bit of a better lens on projecting what we expect to spend. So that has been sort of a supplementary benefit. But the visibility, the control and the accountability back to particular members of the team have been the key elements.
If you had to pick one, what is the feature or benefit that you like most about Cledara?
Honestly, it is the fact that we can just have an individual card for each application. The fact that we share those card details for given purposes and we don't have this risk is amazing. It's the control.
Cledara is exceptionally helpful because, for me, it is one of those applications that you can basically have in the background. You don't need to spend a lot of time with it and it just helps you save time, rather than one of those many applications which claim to save you time and effort but just end up taking a significant amount of time to keep ticking over.
That's what we're aiming for. Thanks for that. And many thanks for your time, I’ve really enjoyed the chat.
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